The Culture of Life and the Culture of Death: dueling conversations

By Melissa Ohden

Editor’s note. Melissa, the survivor of a “failed” saline abortion in 1977, speaks all over the world including at the last two National Right to Life Conventions.  She writes periodically for National Right to Life News Today.

Melissa Ohden

Melissa Ohden

After 40 years, thanks to onrushing scientific evidence,  it is no longer possible for abortion advocates to shroud the humanity of unborn babies in dismissive phrases such as  “blob of tissue,”  a “clump of cells,” or a “product of conception.”  Thanks particularly to the incredible power of ultrasound, we have a window to the womb. And if that weren’t enough we have the very existence of survivors like me to educate us further about how children develop in the womb.

Thanks to years of research, we now also see how abortion often involves coercion more than “choice,” and can and does result in significant long-term consequences for women, rather than solutions. Thanks to the courageous efforts of Silent No More, Rachel’s Vineyard, and others, we also see and hear through post-abortive women and men how they have suffered mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually from abortion.

After 40 years, the language and therefore the discussion has shifted.  Yes, there are many who are still uneducated or under-educated about human development and the dynamics surrounding abortion. But while there are many who want to deny the truth about abortion–because the truth is hard to bear–overall, there appears to be a new conversation that has developed about abortion.

The paradox is at the same time the conversation/dialogue/discussion moved past the old euphemisms in the direction of life, the inner logic of death has also moved on to claim new victims.

NRL News Today has written or reprinted a dozen articles about “After birth abortion.” Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, Oxford scholars, wrote in the “Journal of Medical Ethics” that parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion.  The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if he or she turns out to be disabled when they are born. The words of Giubilini and Minerva follow the narrative of their colleague in bioethics, Peter Singer.

Lest we think that such discourse happens “somewhere else,” we need to recall that in 2001, 2002, and 2003 (when President Obama was an Illinois state Senator ) he opposed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, legislation to provide legal protection for babies who are born alive during abortions.

Or we could look at the recent Salon article written by Mary Elizabeth Williams, in which she admits unabashedly that “the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing.”  No, we don’t need to look far these days to see abortion and even after-birth abortion–otherwise known as infanticide–being rigorously defended and even recommended.

Yet the words spoken by Ms. Alisa LaPolt Snow, representing the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, when testifying against a Florida bill similar to the Federal Infants Born Alive Protection Act, seems to have shocked even those who are pro-choice or who have thought that after-birth abortion/infanticide was nothing to be concerned about.  (See  http://nrlc.cc/ZzNmDP.)

Ms. Snow  stated categorically that PP believes that “any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and her physician.”

When asked, ”What objection could you possibly have to obligate a doctor to transport a child born alive to a hospital where it seems to me they would be most likely to be able to survive?,” Ms. Snow responded, “What about those situations where it is in a rural health care setting, the hospital is 45 minutes or an hour away, that’s the closest trauma center or emergency room? You know there’s just some logistical issues involved that we have some concerns about.”

Hmmm….maybe the “logistical issue” of that child who is living and breathing? I have no doubt that if my birthmother’s abortion would have occurred at a Planned Parenthood clinic versus a hospital years ago, that I would not be writing this article today.  They would have taken care of the “logistical” issue of me.

(Feeling the heat,  Planned Parenthood subsequently sent the following to Fox’s Sean Hannity: “In the extremely unlikely event that the scenario presented by the panel of legislators should happen, of course Planned Parenthood would provide appropriate care to both the woman and the infant.” The question, of course, is even on the off-chance that PP’s statement is to be taken at face value, have any Planned Parenthood abortion facility invested in advanced life-support equipment. To ask the question is to answer it.)

So, what would I (an abortion survivor) say to Ms. Snow about her statements regarding the care and treatment of infants born alive from abortion?

First of all, I would say thank you, strange as that may sound. Thank you for allowing the true nature of Planned Parenthood’s business to come to light.  Too many people in our world still are blinded by the influence and marketing strategies of PP to see the true nature of who you are and what you do.

I think that you showed the true side of PP quite well last week—you are willing to not only kill children in the womb, but you are willing to let us die after we’ve fought for our lives and survived abortions.  Secondly, I would encourage you and  your colleagues, Ms. Snow, to visit with abortion survivors like myself, Gianna Jessen, Claire Culwell, and hundreds of others that I know who could tell you how much more likely circumstances like ours are.  It is not as rare as you might want to think.

And lastly, I just want to let you know that although I find what you said appalling, it doesn’t mean that I find you appalling.  Our paths may soon be crossing at the Florida statehouse, and I look forward to enlightening you on all of this more.